Electronic Rights

May 1996
by Ivan Hoffman, B.A., J.D
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Ivan HoffmanIvan Hoffman (photo right) is a publishing, copyright, Internet law, recording, and music attorney as well as a published writer and author. He practices in the Los Angeles area. You may reach him at ivan@ivanhoffman.com or 818/342-1762.


At the inception of any new medium, those in the already existing media cry out about the imminent downfall of their cherished territory. This happened when television came in and those in the movie industry creamed about the loss of their markets. This happened when the VCR came in and those in the television industry shrieked about the loss of their markets. None of that which provoked these protests has ever been true. Those with vested interests learned how to adapt to the new medium and use it for their advantage. They did so or they perished.

Today, the “hot button” issue is electronic media and the voices of some are heard about loss of revenue and even the downfall of copyright. Instead of expending such energies crying about false wolves, writers and publishers should be figuring out how to adapt. There are some who would hold out and not allow their creative product to be exploited “for free” as it were. It appears to me that they have missed the point entirely about the state of electronic rights at this moment in history.

The money isn’t here yet. The market is.

Failing to see that electronic rights are not about earning enough money to purchase that long-awaited villa in Spain but rather about creating an outreach far beyond one’s previously wildest expectations is, to my mind, to miss the point in its entirety. To refuse to have one’s work exploited in this new medium even if “for free” is to fail to adapt. And to risk perishing.

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